Letters From The Fire is back on track and with an entirely new image. Shockwave got to take a moment to sit with Letters From The Fire’s new singer, Alexa Kabazie, and get the insight into how she became the band’s new front-woman and why she pulled all-nighters in the studio.
Shockwave Magazine: How did you come across Letters From The Fire and how did you end up auditioning to be their new singer?
Alexa: Well, I had went into the studio with my old band and Kile Odell, who did our record. When I quit that band, Kile and his manager started working with me and we did a demo, which ended up being the first song on our record. When Letters was looking for a new vocalist, their manager at the time contacted Scott and asked him if he knew a vocalist and he was like, “Yeah, I have this girl.” Letters said they weren’t sure they were looking for a girl. Scott said, “Just listen to the demo, all right?” So, they ended up listening to it and they liked it. They sent over a couple instrumental tracks and we wrote vocals and recorded some of that. They really liked what they heard, so they flew out to see how we meshed and whatever. It ended up working out and we wrote the album two weeks later.
How does it feel for you to come into a band that had been pretty well established, and then change the tune around to become a female fronted band?
I was a little nervous at first. You never know if you’re going to get some type of backlash from the fans, but I think that good music speaks for itself. Everyone was pretty open-minded about it and when they heard the music, I think they realized that it was a really great change for everyone. I think the music we’re making right now is on a different level than the music that both me and the band were making before.
Is this your first tour as their new singer, then?
It’s our first tour as a band, yes. I’ve been on other tours, but all together it’s our first one and it’s been super fun so far.
I read in a previous interview that was done with Mike that you guys are taking everything as you are now, like an “out with the old, in with the new” approach. Have you had any fans that have requested any of the old songs while you’ve been out on tour?
Yeah, there’s some old fans that are like “You should do this, you should do this.” We are actually doing “Eleanor Rigby” on a couple of our headline shows when we have a longer set, just to fill out that hour. For the most part, we are just looking forward. Like I said before, the music we are making now is miles ahead of anything that we’ve done before.
What’s your favorite part about this tour so far?
I’m loving everyone we’ve been out with. Children 18:3 have become really great friends of ours. I love watching them every night. They bring it so hard. They’re a 3-piece and they fill out the stage and bring the energy. It’s been fun to get to know everyone.
Worth the Pain is such a deep and emotionally powerful album. Besides the albums namesake, which song would you think describes the writing process most for you?
We really attacked the record pretty similarly for each song. Cameron and Mike would do the musical part and Kile would refine and restructure it a bit. They would send it to me and I would sit in another room and listen to it. I would say “What does this feel like? What emotions does this track give to me?” Then I would think about, “Is it this feeling? What experience did I go through to give me that? What can I say about that?” So, I’d start with the chorus. It’s like writing a story. You start with the main parts and then extend from there. I attacked every song really hard. We only had six weeks to write all 13 songs, so it was a methodical process.
Mike Keller said you knocked out seven songs in such a short time frame. You must be some writing goddess.
Alexa: (laughing) Absolutely not. It was a struggle. This is the first full record that I’ve ever done. It was an effort, for sure. I was in the studio every day and 12 hours was a short day. I’d be working on a song from 12-16 hours. I’d be working and re-working, and writing and re-writing, until I was happy with it.
That’s some dedication.
Alexa: You get lost in it. It’s not bad; you don’t even notice the time go by.
When I write my own reviews, I’ve noticed the more tired I am the better I write.
Alexa: Oh, for sure. The lack of sleep helps, it lowers your inhibitions a bit and your brain goes places. I pulled a couple all-nighters while we were writing the records just because it was interesting to see what my brain would come up with when I was deliriously exhausted.
Is there anything specific about this album that speaks to you on a personal level?
Alexa: The whole album speaks about me personally. It is intimate and it’s a little scary to put it out there. Every song is some story about me or something that I went through. There’s stuff on there that can be hard to talk about. “Give Into Me” talks about my ADHD and “Last December” is about cousins I have that went through drug addiction. Relationship problems and things that I’ve struggled with, it’s all kind of scary. I think that it’s important and at the end of the day I remember that it’s not just about me. I’m making this music so that other people who are going through something similar know they aren’t alone.
Is there one song in particular you would tell someone who is new to you that they have to listen to and why?
Alexa: That’s tough. We picked the single “Give Into Me” because we felt that was a good representation of the new version of Letters From The Fire. It has the heavy riff, it has the catchy hook, it has the electronics. It is a great first song to listen to. I love a lot of the songs on this record.
Do you have anything else you want to plug?
Buy the record, request the song on Octane. Come out to a show, we love hanging out and seeing people’s faces. We like to rock out.
Thank you for taking the time with me today to chat!
“Worth The Pain” is available on iTunes.